The Zwinger Palace is Dresden's most famous landmark which covers an area on the northwestern edge of the Innere Altstadt (inner Old Town) that is part of the historic heart of Dresden. This baroque complex of pavilions and galleries was - like many of the city's most prominent buildings - commissioned by Augustus II the Strong, elector of Saxony. The name 'zwinger' means 'interspace' and originates from its location between former city fortifications. The Zwinger, with its large inner courtyard, was used for court festivities, tournaments and fireworks. The complex was built between 1710 and 1732 after a design by German master builder Matthäus Daniel Pöppelmann in collaboration with sculptor Balthasar Permoser. The Zwinger includes six pavilions connected by large galleries.
At the southeast end of Zwinger's courtyard is the Glockenspielpavilion (Carillon Pavilion) with a collection of bells made by the famous Meissen porcelain factory. Before its present status as the Glockenspielpavilion, the structure was first known as the Stadtpavilion completed in the early 18th-century. The carillon first appeared in 1930 at an exhibition, and subsequently moved to the Stadtpavilion three years later. Large swaths of the city and its landmarks were heavily damaged or destroyed in the Second World War; the ensuing decades have seen the slow process of reconstruction come to fruition. The carillon plays a melody every quarter-hour; additional longer melodies play at specific times of the day. Depending upon the season, there are special melodies, including pieces by Vivaldi, Mozart, and Bach.